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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 736 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

I would like to have found no association between breast cancer and abortion, but our research is rock solid, and our data is accurate. It's not a matter of believing, it's a matter of what is.

On International Women's Day in 2002 we should not be running wholeheartedly to embracing the emblem of what is considered the feminist movement but should be standing back and taking a long hard look at what we advocate for our sisters.

MR PRATT (5.03): Mr Speaker, I would like to speak very briefly in support of the comments that have been made on both sides of the house regarding this very important occasion. While I note that Ms Gallagher's MPI relates to the role of women in our community, I notice that Ms Tucker put an international dimension on it. I would like to add that the Australian community has recognised and has worked fairly strongly for women in need in very difficult countries. I could speak for a number of hours about the difficulties women have faced in some quite awful countries under quite awful circumstances and the role of women and men from this country in providing emergency assistance to those people.

I often think of the hundred or so thousand Iraqi widows, many with children, trapped in the Kurdish enclave in north-eastern Iraq in the years immediately after the gulf war. Tens of thousands of them are still there, unable to be reintegrated into their communities. These sorts of refugees do not necessarily have access to the people smuggling trade. There are many women in many places throughout the Balkans and Africa in very difficult circumstances. One wonders what is going to happen to their livelihood in the years to come.

While we celebrate our own situation and the improving situation of women in this country, I hope we continue to provide the assistance we have been proudly providing overseas to people of all genders and all backgrounds in serious need, recognising the privileged position we are in in this country.

Following Ms Tucker's speech, I would like to say that I think both genders are working extremely hard overseas on conflict resolution, the provision of aid to communities and the development of civil society. It is true that it is the women in Third World countries who are showing the way. It tends to be the women who are slowly breaking ground in conflict resolution and the development of civil societies in very difficult countries.

I hope that those participating tomorrow in events around the country enjoy themselves and I wish everybody the best.

MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (5.06): It is important to acknowledge the significance of International Women's Day to be celebrated tomorrow. Its historical and community significance has been well explained by Ms Dundas, Ms Macdonald and Ms Gallagher in particular and by Ms Tucker and other contributors.

It is important to recognise that it is not solely a day with historical resonance but a day which is very much still required in the contemporary debates our community faces. It is also important that men acknowledge the significance of the day and recognise its contemporary relevance in our community.

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